News Blog

Neil Squires 1962-2019

Posted by Robert Hampton on 15th November 2019 at 8:16 pm

We’re sorry to hear of the death of one of our founder members, Neil Squires, last Friday. Neil served as our first Secretary and was a major driving force behind the Friends of the 502 Group in those early years. Our thoughts are with all who knew him.

Photo of Neil Squires working on the 502

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Restoring Southport’s Original Station

Posted by Robert Hampton on 23rd October 2019 at 7:57 pm

Southport Model Railway Society have been very supportive of us over the years, and we are happy to return the favour by sharing this crowdfunding appeal.

Photo of Southport Model Railway Society clubhouse

Very few stations survive from the 1840’s, but we are fortunate that by a quirk of fate (the original line being extended around the corner into the present site of Southport station in Chapel Street), Southport’s original Eastbank Lane Station has survived.

Although Southport Model Railway Society restored the building in 1987, and Network Rail recently restored it externally, the interior is not at present safe to receive visitors, and the anticipated crowdfunded work will allow this.

This is a crowdfunded project, and payment will only be taken if the project reaches its target of £1,639 by 21 December 2019. Please visit for more information and to pledge.

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Online shop returns!

Posted by Robert Hampton on 16th July 2019 at 8:21 pm

It’s been a while, but our online shop is back and restocked with our new merchandise, showing the beautiful new illustration produced exclusively for us by Jonathan Clay. Mugs, mouse mats and framed prints are available now.

Class 502 Mug with Jonathan Clay illustration

Class 502 Mouse Mat with Jonathan Clay illustration

We also have a page of railway books and DVDs to purchase via an Amazon affiliate link, with a small percentage of each sale going to benefit the 502 Group.

If you haven’t been able to get to one of our shows recently, this is your chance to get your hands on some merchandise. Please visit us now at to make your purchase!

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Burscough Open Day 2019

Posted by Robert Hampton on 10th June 2019 at 8:27 pm

Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day Poster

It’s nearly that time again, when the Merseyside Transport Trust throws open the doors of their Burscough headquarters and allows the public in to see their collection of vehicles.

This year’s open day takes place on 14th July from 10.30am to 4.00pm.

Of course, the 502 Group will be there too, ready to show visitors around our historic train. If you want to see what we have been up to this past year, the open day is the perfect opportunity. Group members will be on hand to answer any questions you might have, and our usual range of merchandise will be on sale.

Buses at MTT Open Day

The MTT’s base is located just off Tollgate Road, Burscough, L40 8TG. As usual, a frequent shuttle bus service will operate from Ormskirk bus station and Burscough Bridge railway station, offering easy access by public transport.

For more info, visit

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Ormskirk Paints

Posted by Robert Hampton on 20th April 2019 at 6:08 pm

The Friends of the 502 Group would like to offer our thanks to Ormskirk Paints who have recently contributed £100 of materials towards the renovation of the unit.

If you need paint or other DIY essentials, please do stop by at 95 Burscough Street, Ormskirk, L39 2EL.

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Best of British Rail Show 2019

Posted by Robert Hampton on 9th March 2019 at 3:42 pm

The Friends of the 502 Group will be taking part in the Best of British Rail event at Crewe Heritage Centre on Saturday 23rd March 2019.

The event is being held in association with the Woodhead Railway Heritage Group.

As well as our own stand, there will be other preservation groups, displays of British Rail memorabilia, train and freight operating company stands and at least one visiting locomotive.

Hope to see you there!

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Progress pictures – November 2018

Posted by Robert Hampton on 20th November 2018 at 8:52 pm

Some brief progress pictures to share with you, these pictures were taken at Burscough on Sunday as we were preparing for our AGM.

The pictures show the new cab of 29896 taking shape rapidly, the badly corroded metal having been stripped out and new panels welded in place. Compare to the photo of 29896 at Tebay back in 2010 and I’m sure you’ll agree there is a huge difference.

Photo of cab of class 502 vehicle 29896, with scaffold in front

We have also started installing new flooring in the passenger saloon of 29896, the seats and other fixtures have been stripped out, and the new metal floor panels has been fixed in place and given a coat of paint to guard against corrosion.

Photo of interior of vehicle 29896, stripped out but with freshly installed metal flooring

If you are interested in helping out with the unit’s restoration, please do get in touch.

502 in Railway Magazine

Posted by Robert Hampton on 5th October 2018 at 7:20 pm

If you have picked up the October 2018 issue of The Railway Magazine, you may have spotted that our humble Class 502 is featured in a special four-page report, written by one of our members, Martyn Hilbert.

Low-res picture of the Railway Magazine article headlined "Back from the Brink"

A small taster of the article can be found online at, but for the full story, with lots of great pictures, buy a copy of the magazine from your local friendly newsagent, or get the digital edition.

As the article introduction states, preservation of electric multiple units is often overlooked. We’re glad that The Railway Magazine has redressed the balance a little.

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Progress pictures

Posted by Robert Hampton on 28th June 2018 at 8:07 pm

Recently posted to our Facebook page, the image below shows the amazing progress on the cab exterior which has been completely rebuilt.

You will have your chance to see the completed work up close at the MTT Open Day on 8th July! Hope to see you there.

Welding in progress on the 502 cab

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MTT Open Day 2018

Posted by Robert Hampton on 28th May 2018 at 10:49 pm

A date for your diary: the Merseyside Transport Trust open day will be held this year on 8th July from 10.30am until 4.30pm.

As well as the usual array of vintage road vehicles, the Friends of the 502 Group will of course be there. The 502 vehicles will be open and available for people to inspect our work over the past year.

Many vintage buses will be running, including a service from Ormskirk bus station and Burscough Bridge railway station for those arriving by public transport.

More information will be published closer to the time here and on the MTT website –

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